Columbus, OH -- Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray today announced that debt collection complaints in Ohio are on the rise. The announcement comes in conjunction with the release of a National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) study naming debt collection as the top consumer complaint in 2008.
"In Ohio, we have received 2,067 complaints about debt collection in 2009 year-to-date, which is on pace to be almost double the number of complaints we received just three years ago," Cordray said. "It's a clear reflection of today's economic stress. Ohioans' tolerance of illegal debt collection tactics along with credit and home loan scams has reached its limit."
In 2008, the Ohio Attorney General's Office received 2,446 debt collection complaints; 2,123 were received in 2007, and 1,699 were received in 2006. Earlier this year, Cordray filed a lawsuit against National Enterprise Systems, Inc., a collection agency based in Solon, Ohio, for routinely harassing consumers and using illegal practices to collect debts.
"A line must be drawn to keep debt collection from crossing over into harassment," Cordray said. "Consumers have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Overly aggressive tactics, such as making threats and repeated phone calls, are not allowed. Ohioans have enough financial worries without the added stress of harassing collection practices."
Cordray reminds consumers that they have the following rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Debt collectors may not:
- Use false names or statements.
- Threaten consumers or their families with harm.
- Use obscene words.
- Contact consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Contact consumers at work if consumers specifically request that they do not.
- Contact a consumer without identifying themselves.
- Tell others about a consumer's debt or publish the names of those who owe debts.
- Falsely claim that a consumer has committed a crime.
- Misrepresent the amount consumers owe on their debts.